VIDEO TOUR: Blue Mountain Brewery expands
Okay, so Dish isn't Steven Spielberg, but we thought you might enjoy a little video tour of the Blue Mountain Brewery's recent renovations. Plus, Blue Mountain owners Taylor & Mandi Smack give a good tour. They've expanded their restaurant and brewery operations, installing gleaming holding tanks behind a new bar, a la South Street Brewery, which get filled directly from their brewery via piping that runs along the roof. The new space is about twice as big as the old space, which will now be used for special events, and features a balcony overlooking the entrance. But, of course, the best part is the new beer garden outside with the beautuful view of the mountains, the children playing on the grass, and the adults, well, the adults smiling that I-just-had-a-nice-cold-beer-and-I-feel-fine smile as they watch the sun go down.
Beer brewer in the making
In the late-1990s Taylor Smack worked for the local dot-bomb era company Value America as a product description and advertising writer. He was 22 years old, and it was his first job out of college. With a BA from Hampden-Sydney College, Smack figured he'd enter the business world and work his way up the corporate ladder. Value America's epic collapse cured him of that. One Christmas during that time he was given a small beer-brewing kit. After making a few batches, he turned his back on those white collar ambitions and decided he wanted to get his hands dirty making beer.
The rest is local beer-making history.
Smack went off and earned a Certificate of Brewing Technology from Chicago’s Siebel Institute, the country’s oldest school for the craft of brewing. He then became the head brewer of both Goose Island brewpubs in Chicago, and later spent six years as the brewer for Charlottesville's South Street Brewery. In 2007, together with his wife, Mandi, and his friend (and fellow ex-Value America employee) Matt Nucci, he opened Blue Mountain.
Last year, Blue Mountain won a silver medal at the World Beer Cup, the Olympics of beer-brewing competitions, for its Rockfish Wheat in the American Wheat-beer style category.
Blue Mountain opened its new facility to some guests on September 14, 2011. And the Dish got a tour. The grand opening will be held on September 21.